A Leftist’s Perspective on Trump Calling Our Troops Losers and Suckers
My Facebook wall has been flooded over the last 2 days with people rightfully upset about Trump calling troops losers and suckers according to Jeffrey Goldberg’s piece in The Atlantic. So what’s the problem?
While what Trump said is triggering, the fact that it is dominating the headlines of the past 24 hours is an example of a disingenuous shifting of the actual issue (the impacts of the Pentagon’s impudent militarism on actual military families) to “concern trolling” (definition: the action or practice of disingenuously expressing concern about an issue in order to undermine or derail genuine discussion) about Trump insulting a class of people that politicians on both sides objectively don’t give an f about: enlisted members of our military. The big picture of what is happening was explained in detail in Chomsky’s Manufacturing Consent.
I yell a lot about Americans missing the point when it comes to our politics. Here’s my thesis: the misconception that the fight is between the left and right/Democrats and Republicans is a deliberate obfuscation by mainstream media of the actual fight between the ruling class (corporations, mainstream politicians, executives, investors, the donor class, billionaires, and media outlets owned by elites that manufacture consent in their favor) and the rest of us, which includes everyone who doesn’t fall into the above categories. For the past 4 decades, the establishment has been kicking our ass.
In Manufacturing Consent, Chomsky wrote that the ruling class publishes propaganda for 2 audiences:
20% of the audience is the political class, which he defines as the relatively educated, those playing roles in decision making as managers or cultural managers (teacher/writers) and the class responsible for how political life is conducted. If you’re reading this post, you probably fit somewhere in this group.
The remaining 80% is directed at the segment whose main function is to follow orders (EX: the military, wage workers), not to think, or question authority. This is the class that pays the cost of harmful propaganda.
Chomsky also identified that it is the role of elite media (WaPo NYT/CNN/MSNBC/sadly now PBS) to set the agenda of debate in our country. They do this by selecting the topics of the day, through framing of issues, filtering of information and setting the boundaries of the debate within set limits.
In the case of Trump calling troops losers and suckers, the table was set by WaPo/NYT/CNN/MSNBC/PBS so that the debate would be disingenuously framed around the binary of whether you think it’s ok or not for a 74yo lifetime con artist to call American soldiers losers. Of course it’s not ok. Only a troll would say otherwise, but that’s also an obfuscation of the actual issue.
The concern part of “concern trolling” comes from our humanity. We care about our young people, who mostly come from our working class, who put themselves in the most dangerous situations out of both duty and economic necessity, and we rightfully view them as heroes. We are justifiably angry when a rich coward calls them suckers.
The trolling part comes from an establishment class fooling us into thinking that one side of our corrupt political establishment cares about these people, while the other looks down at them. This is patently untrue. Our government views enlisted military as expendable. Both sides fluff the military, wearing flag pins, doing endless photo ops with troops, approving millions of taxpayer dollars for flyovers at NFL games while also abandoning veterans when they come home broken with crippling PTSD and opioid addiction and lying us into never ending war after never ending war based on false intel at the behest of corporate donors from the oil and military industrial complex.
Don’t be fooled. Look at the 2 tweets above in response to the aforementioned news story of the day. The liberal is concern trolling, while the leftist sees both sides of our government for what they are: defenders of our elites who divide the rest of us with disingenuously manufactured “issues” like this. If you are proud of your country and want to create a better future for our children, fight for the people who suffer, in this case, enlisted military, and not for the bullshit candidate representing your half of the political class that wears the hat color you think you identify with more. Demand change. Vote out corporate incumbents. Identify a handful of issues that are most important to you right now, and and do not give away your vote to any candidate who has made no commitment to fighting for these issues.